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Show Your Heart Some Love on Valentine's Day

Show Your Heart Some Love on Valentine’s Day

Have you considered staying in for Valentine’s Day this year? You can make this holiday special for you and your loved one and still make nutritious choices that promote heart health by cooking your Valentine’s dinner at home!

Romantic Couple Cooking

Cooking more meals at home allows you to choose quality, nutrient-dense ingredients to make delicious, heart-healthy meals! Plus, cooking this meal is an activity that you can do together, so it provides another opportunity to spend quality time as a couple on this special day.

To get started, it’s important to know what to look for when you’re seeking heart-healthy ingredients. The Defense Commissary Agency’s dietitian, Deborah Harris, recommends striving to achieve the following dietary goals the American Heart Association recommends to promote optimal health:

Aim to eat a diet that’s rich in:
  • Fish (eat at least twice a week); especially fatty fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, herring and tuna
  • Fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans)
  • Whole-grain, high-fiber foods and fat-free and low-fat or 1% dairy products
  • Skinless poultry and lean meats

Aim to keep a diet that’s low in:
  • Saturated fats, trans fats and sodium

Limit the intake of:
  • Sugar

Foods that offer benefits for heart health include:

Seafood

Seafood

  • The World Health Organization says that adults should consume at least 250-500 mg. of omega-3 fatty acids each day. Omega-3s are good for the heart because they decrease triglycerides, slow/prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries and may assist with managing blood pressure.
  • Eating the recommended amount of omega-3s is easy with fish added to your diet. This is why the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish/shellfish per week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and tuna and shellfish are great sources. A serving size of fish is about 3-4 oz., cooked, or about ¾ of a cup, flaked (canned).

Garlic

Garlic

  • Garlic may have heart-healthy benefits and serves as a bold, pleasing alternative to higher-sodium flavor options.

Avocados

Avocados

  • Research shows that eating too much saturated fat is not good for the heart, but unsaturated fat, which you can find in avocados and other foods, helps improve cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.

But taking a balanced approach is the most sustainable path, so making healthy choices doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself, especially on a day that’s well known for its sweet treats! For instance, did you know that dark chocolate offers health benefits for the heart, when eaten in moderation?

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

  • Dark chocolate consumption has been shown to protect LDL (the “bad” cholestorol that adds to plaque buildup in your arteries) against oxidation, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
  • Dark chocolate may also improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

To make things easier for you, we’re showcasing some heart-healthy options that feature the ingredients mentioned above… you can make these on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year! Just click any option in the carousel below to view the associated recipe or meal solution on our website:

(Looking for more inspiration? You can use our Nutrition Guide Program shelf labels at Your Commissary to help identify foods that have the nutritional attributes you’re seeking, such as “Low Sodium,” “Low Fat,” “Good Source of Fiber,” “No Sugar Added,” etc.)

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Will you be choosing heart-healthy options? Please let us know in the comments below!

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